UTP stands for Unshielded Twisted Pair, and refers to a popular cable type that is made of two unshielded wires twisted around each other. This low cost cable is used primarily in local-area networks (LANs) and telephone connections. While coaxial cables provide higher bandwidth and better interference protection than UTP cables, UTP cables are more affordable and easier to work with.
Why twist two cables around each other? The twisted cable pairs are intended for the purpose of cutting down crosstalk as well as canceling out EMI (electromagnetic interference) that may come from external sources, including electromagnetic radiation, roots, ground water, pressure and other sources.
The twist rate, or the pitch of the twist as installers refer to it, is the number of twists per unit of length. It is one of the elements that make the cable’s specifications. With a tighter twist, the signal will run further, and with less interference. But that’s not all – each one of the pairs should have a different twist ratio in order to avoid crosstalk within the cable itself.
UTP cables have a unique color coding per wire (white/blue, blue/white, white/orange, orange/white), and are made with copper wires that is 22 to 24 gauge. The colored insulator is typically made of FEP or polyethylene and then covered with a polyethylene jacket.
Twisted-pair cables are the base of building telecommunications and data transmission today due to of their design simplicity, ease of use, and strong performance. Other than computer networking and telephone connections, UTP cables are finding increasing use in video applications such as with security cameras.